There are two adventurous alternatives par excellence in the Wonder of the World: the first is the amazing 4-day trekking route to Machu Picchu known as the Inca Trail. The second is the ascent to the top of the Huayna Picchu mountain, considered one of the most incredible short walks in the world. Many tourists, after living the experience offered by the Inca Trail, want to experience the adrenaline of the Waynapicchu. This is possible? Below is a guide to live the two most incredible alternatives of the Inca Citadel.
To visit the Huayna Picchu mountain after the Inca Trail, it is recommended to book the Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu Ticket in Group 2. To make both adventures, you must book the entrance tickets with up to 6 months in advance.
The Inca Trail
The Inca Trail is a 4 day and 3 night trekking route to arrive at the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu through Puerta del Sol or Intipunku. In total, the route is approximately 43 kilometers by the ancient network of roads built by the Incas more than 600 years ago.
The adventure begins in the town of Pisqacucho, a small town in the middle of the railway that leads to Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu town. From there, the visitor travels places at the foot of imposing snow-capped mountains such as the Warmihuañusca pass at 4,200 m.s. As you descend you will arrive at places with flora and fauna typical of the subtropical region that precedes the arrival to the Wonder of the World. On the fourth day, around 08:00 a.m., the visitor finally arrives at the Inca site.
It is estimated that 25,000 tourists travel the Inca Trail every year. It is not possible to do it on your own. To live this adventure, it is necessary to book up to 6 months in advance an entrance fee. The 4 days of walking include an official guide of tourism, food, accommodation in camps and porters who carry on their backs the luggage of the tourist. The Inca Trail is considered among the 5 best hiking trails in the world
The Huayna Picchu
The Huayna Picchu is the summit located north of the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu. It is located at 2,720 m.s., almost 300 meters above the Inca site. It is known as ‘young mountain’, in contrast to the mountain Machu Picchu (old mountain). The climb to the top of this summit is considered one of the most incredible short walks in the world.
The entrance gate to Huayna Picchu is located inside and north of the Inca Citadel. Ancient Inca trails lead to the top of this vertical mountain. The ascent is popular due to the adrenaline sensation that tourists experience when climbing the difficult and steep Inca trails on the edge of frightening precipices. From the top of the Waynapicchu, you can appreciate all the splendor of the landscape that surrounds the Wonder of the World. When descending, the tourist can visit the Temple of the Moon, a mysterious Inca construction, whose end is not yet fully defined.
The only way to enter Waynapicchu is by booking the Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu Ticket. This ticket allows the entry of only 400 people per day so it is recommended to book tickets with months in advance. Visitors can enter the mountain in two groups or schedules:
- Group 1: enter from 07:00 a.m. at 08:00 a.m. (Visitors can stay at the Wonder of the World until 01:00 p.m.)
- Group 2: enter from 10:00 a.m. at 11:00 a.m. (Visitors can stay at the Wonder of the World until 02:00 p.m.)
Go up to Huayna Picchu after the Inca Trail?
Visitors wishing to make the ascent to the Huayna Picchu mountain after the Inca Trail must book the Ticket Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu in Group 2 (entry from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.). This is because, after an arduous hike, tourists will arrive at the Inca site at around 08:00 a.m., tired and with insufficient time to enter Waynapicchu in Group 1.
To make both the Inca Trail and the ascent to the Huayna Picchu mountain, it takes a lot of planning. The first is to make both reservations months in advance, especially if you plan to make the adventure in high season tourism (April to October). If you plan to visit during the low season of tourism (from October to March), you must bear in mind that the Inca Trail remains closed for maintenance throughout the month of February.
Visitors who enter the Huayna Picchu mountain through Group 2 can stay until 02:00 p.m. in the Inca precinct. This offers the opportunity to have time to visit the stone buildings of the Inca Citadel, such as the Temple of the Condor, the Temple of the Sun or the Intihuatana. If there is not enough strength left to continue walking through the Wonder of the World, another option is simply to enjoy the incredible view that Machu Picchu offers.
- Before carrying out the Inca Trail, it is advisable to acclimatise previously (1 or 2 days) to the city of Cusco. The journey through the ancient Inca trails crosses altitudes of up to 4,200 m.s.
- The Inca Trail is allowed to people of all ages. The Huayna Picchu, only over 12 years old.
- For both the Inca Trail and the Huayna Picchu, it is recommended to bring sunscreen, water in a canteen, appropriate footwear for hiking, mosquito repellent, light clothing during the day and snacks.
- It is not necessary to be an expert mountaineer to carry out the Inca Trail and the ascent to Waynapicchu. The only requirement is the desire to reach the goal.
- The Inca Trail and the Huayna Picchu have signs that protect the tourist’s life. It is necessary to follow the signs and not look for a way on your own
Other adventurous alternatives
- Inca Trail of 2 days: An alternative for people to whom 4 days of walking seems too much. This short version of the Inca Trail does not begin the journey at kilometer 104 of the road that leads to the town of Aguas Calientes and lasts only 2 days and 1 night.
- Hike through Salkantay: An alternative adventure for people who did not get the entry ticket to the Inca Trail. This route crosses the skirts of the imposing Salkantay snow cap to 6,710 m.s. then descend to Machu Picchu through the town of Aguas Calientes. It lasts 5 days and 4 nights.
- Machu Picchu mountain trek: An alternative for people who did not get the entry ticket to Huayna Picchu. It is a hike in ascent to the top of the Machu Picchu Mountain located within the Wonder of the World. The view from the top is just as spectacular as from the highest point of the Waynapicchu